Interpretations involving Definition: How to Define Sexual Assault?
–Munro, “Wild Swans” (p. 69)
–Young, “Feminists Want Us…” (p. 143)
–Experiment with searching on 3 Research Resources; try to find an article related to your Essay 2
- It may seem obvious, but definition—the act of proposing what a word or idea means, does, or is about—is actually an incredibly powerful interpretative strategy. A definition is an interpretation. We have been working this week on close reading passages from the text you are interpreting for your Essay 2. For this assignment, I want you to get practice defining words/ideas that are important to the text you are interpreting. We are going to get this practice using Cathy Young’s “Feminists Want Us…” (a provocative—possibly offensive—article on the politics of defining sexual assault) and Alice Munro’s short story, “Wild Swans” (a rather twisted tale in which an ambiguous sexual encounter—possibly assault; it’s debatable–takes place). First, I want you to read Young’s text and then respond with a paragraph describing what you think her view/definition/interpretation of sexual assault is. Consider both what she thinks IS sexual assault AND what she thinks IS NOT sexual assault (saying what a thing is NOT is just as important to forming a definition as is the ability to say what it IS).
- Second, I want you to read Munro’s “Wild Swans” and write a paragraph summarizing the story that is focused on whether or not you would define its “main event” as a form of sexual assault. Be sure to include a close reading & analysis of one quotation from the text as well as your own specific thoughts about what YOU think the definition of sexual assault IS and IS NOT.